PESHAWAR: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Engineer Amir Muqam has alleged that massive rigging took place during the Thursday’s by-election in Peshawar “in connivance with some officials of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP)”.
Muqam, the president of the PML-N’s K-P chapter, claimed that there was a huge difference between the number of people actually turning out to vote and the number of votes said to be cast.
“The camps were empty, but the [ballot] boxes were found full,” Muqam told media-persons at the Peshawar Press Club on Friday.
PTI retains NA-4 seat from Peshawar
“This is not possible without the support of ECP… maybe some low-ranking officers were involved, but some of them were involved indeed,” he added.
He also asked why the media was not allowed inside the polling premises. The K-P government, he said, had devised plans A, B and C to ensure victory in the NA-4, the National Assembly constituency from Peshawar.
“I congratulate Chief Minister Parvez Khattak and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan for putting their plans into practice very well [and winning the election] by massively rigging the by-poll,” he said in a sarcastic tone.
Muqam, who is also the PM’s adviser, ruled out the possibility of army’s involvement in the alleged rigging. However, he added that the polling staff was changed early on Thursday morning, hours before the start of the polling time.
“When Abdul Hakim, the presiding officer in Sorizai Payan, reached his polling station, he was told that his duty had been shifted to another location,” he said, adding that Hakim’s was not the only example as many others were transferred at the eleventh hour which gave rise to suspicions.
ANP to move ECP against NA-4 by-election result
The senior politician alleged that the K-P government was involved in pre-poll rigging as well. He said all contractors from across the province were shifted towards NA-4 and tenders were advertised even after the schedule for the by-polls had been announced.
Sharing some advertisements with the media, Muqam alleged that not a single developmental scheme was launched after the announcement of the schedule, adding that he would resign if proven guilty of violating the election rules and launching a developmental scheme to woo the voters.
“The contest was actually between the Awami National Party (ANP) and the PML-N, but suddenly a person, who had recently joined the PTI and remained my associate as well, emerged and got more than 45,000 votes, and that amid a very low turnout,” he claimed.
“We would have never raised questions had the PTI won by a margin of 2,000 to 3,000 votes, but a lead of 21,000 raises questions,” he said, adding, “I would have called PTI candidate Amir Ayub and congratulated him had there not been evidences of rigging during the by-poll.”
Muqam congratulated the PML-N workers for the efforts they put in. “Not even a single PML-N candidate had contested in NA-4 before 2002, but the fact they the party was polled 24,000 votes suggests that people want the PML-N,” he said.
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